For everybody from elite athletes to recovering patients, weekend warriors to fitness newbies, you may have heard about compression therapy. But what exactly is compression therapy, and how can it benefit you? Whether you’re pushing your limits on the track or in the gym, or managing a chronic condition, this blog post is your guide to understanding how compression therapy can benefit you.

Black sports compression socks for running front

What is Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy applies gentle, controlled pressure to specific areas of the body, typically using garments like sleeves, socks, or wraps. This pressure works in two ways:

  • Improved blood flow: Compression helps squeeze fluid out of tissues and encourages blood to flow more efficiently back towards the heart. This is especially beneficial for the legs, where gravity naturally pulls fluids downwards.
  • Reduced inflammation: By applying pressure, and as a result of this improved blood flow, compression therapy can help to prevent and reduce swelling and inflammation, alleviating pain and discomfort.

What Are the Benefits of Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy is mostly associated with the legs, but it can be used anywhere on the body, and compression wraps and sleeves are commonly used by athletes in sports that rely on the arms such as basketball, baseball, cricket, tennis and more. The benefits of compression therapy include:

  • Enhanced performance: Studies suggest compression socks can improve performance and recovery for athletes. This will allow you to train harder and get back to it sooner.
  • Faster injury recovery: Compression therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, leading to quicker healing of sports injuries like muscle strains and shin splints.
  • Reduced muscle soreness: By minimising inflammation and swelling after exercise, compression can ease muscle soreness and improve comfort. This also applies to people recovering from surgery, an injury, or other medical conditions.

Beyond athletes, compression therapy offers relief for various conditions:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI): Compression therapy, usually via compression socks or stockings, is a key treatment for CVI. In chronic venous insufficiency, the patient has difficulty pumping blood back to the heart, and compression therapy can help relieve swelling, prevent ulcers, and improve circulation.
  • Lymphoedema: Lymphoedema is a condition that can cause fluid buildup usually in the arms or legs. Compression therapy promotes lymphatic drainage, reducing swelling and pain.
  • Lipoedema: Similar to lymphoedema, lipoedema affects fat tissue and causes swelling. Compression socks, stockings and wraps can help to manage the symptoms and reduce discomfort.
  • Post-surgical swelling: After surgery, compression therapy can minimise swelling and promote healing at the incision site. For people with reduced mobility, it can also help reduce the chances of other conditions developing, such as DVT.

Different Types of Compression Therapy

  • Graduated compression garments: These apply the strongest pressure at the ankle and gradually decrease upward, promoting optimal blood flow.
  • Flat-knit compression garments: These offer consistent pressure throughout and are often used for lymphedema management.
  • Pneumatic compression devices: These inflatable sleeves or boots use air pressure to provide intermittent compression, often used post-operatively or for lymphedema.
  • Hot/cold compression therapy: This combines compression with temperature therapy, offering additional benefits like pain relief and muscle relaxation.

The CTC-7 Device

Cryotherapy, Thermotherapy and compression therapy device

The CTC-7 device from G&N Recovery takes compression therapy to a new level. This innovative device combines graduated compression with hot and cold therapy (Cryotherapy, Thermotherapy and Contrast Therapy) delivered through circulating water through specialist wraps. This unique device offers several advantages that are especially useful for elite athletes and sports organisations, medical professionals, and those with chronic conditions.

  • Enhanced recovery: The combined effects of compression and cryo or thermotherapy can accelerate healing and reduce pain after injuries.
  • Reduced inflammation: The cold therapy component effectively targets inflammation by constricting blood flow to the area, leading to reduced swelling, faster recovery and improved comfort.
  • Improved circulation: The heated water encourages blood flow by dilating the blood vessels in the area. This allows fresh, oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to reach the area, further promoting healing and reducing stiffness.
  • Versatility: The CTC-7 is suitable for various body parts with customised wraps available for elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, the back and more, making it adaptable to different injuries and conditions.

Compression Therapy at Home

Without doubt, the best form of compression therapy you can undertake at home is by wearing compression socks. Modern compression therapy socks are comfortable, stylish, and made from a wide range of materials, including sustainable cotton and bamboo. What’s more, they can also help reduce the effects of DOMS after a touch training session or competition.

Compression therapy is a powerful tool for athletes, patients, and anyone seeking to improve their health and recovery. Whether you’re pushing your limits in competition or managing a chronic condition, it can improve circulation, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain.